NBA offseason preview: Hornets
Training camps may be a little more than a month away, but it's never too early to start thinking about the NBA fantasy ahead. Today, the up-and-coming Hornets.
The Hornets surprised many around the league by winning the toughest division (Southwest) in the NBA and easily knocking out Dallas in the first round.
Fresh off a key sixth man role for the champion Celtics, Posey was able to parlay his solid play into a four year, $25 million deal with the Hornets. Posey's arrival means Wells is now expendable. So was Pargo, apparently, who signed with TK. And while the Hornets traded away their only draft pick, they had much more important matters at hand, as they signed Paul to a three-year contract extension for $68 million.
How good was CP3 last year? Well, the only other player in NBA history to average 20-plus points (21.1), 10-plus assists (11.6), and 2.5-plus steals (2.71) was
Minutes are a little more up in the air at the swingmen spots. In '07-08,
Despite being named to the All-Star team last year and nearly every single analyst calling him the most underrated power forward in the game, West will still be overlooked by many on draft day '08. Last year I felt if West could just block a few more shots, he would be able to join the exclusive 1-plus block and 77 percent FT club. Well, he did just that and improved in other areas, as well. In fact, only four players averaged 20-plus points and 8-plus rebounds while shooting better than 48 percent from the field and 80 percent fronm the line in '07-08:
I'm not certain of it, but there's a good chance that West met Posey on a recruiting trip way back in '98. You see, Posey led Xavier University in rebounding for three straight years before graduating in '99. A few months later, West stepped onto campus and proceeded to lead Xavier to 94 wins in four seasons while being named the A-10 Player of the Year three years in a row. So don't be surprised if you see them throwing up a lot of Xs this season.
A lot of people are going to ignore Posey this year due to his lowly 7.4 ppg average, but I think he's going to be an excellent late round value pick. He may start the season on the bench, but the Hornets aren't paying him $25 million to ride the pine, so his minutes are sure to rise from the 24.6 that he played last year. As a result, Posey could easily crack the top 50 in both threes and steals in '08-09. For his career, he's a rock solid 82 percent from the line, and he also pitches in with boards and blocks. I'm suggesting you target Posey in rounds 10-12, which is exactly where people targeted Mo Pete a year ago. Peterson didn't deliver, but Posey will.
After playing in just 13 games the year before, Peja bounced back nicely in '07-08, playing in 77 games and knocking down 231 threes (second behind
In '03-04, he shot a blistering 92.7 percent from the stripe on 5.2 attempts per game. Last season, he made a career-high 92.9 percent of his freebies, but he attempted just 1.8 per contest. In '03-04, he pulled down 6.3 rebounds and grabbed 1.3 steals per game. Last season, those averages were down to 4.3 and .7, and they could plummet even further with Posey now in town (a superior rebounder and defender). A lot of people are going to draft Peja in Round 5 because those 3 threes per game are so juicy, but those people probably don't realize that he had to shoot a career-best 44.1 percent from beyond the arc to make that many. Since most of Stojakovic's stats are going to decline this year, I suggest waiting until Rounds 7 or 8 to grab him.
(Where you should draft these guys in an eight-category rotisserie league with 12 teams and 14 man rosters)
Paul: Top 3